Saturday, June 29, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (June 29)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.

For Review:  

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.

Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

Published by Balzer & Bray  

Thanks to Leyane for this one!


School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? 

Published by Disney Hyperion

Thursday, June 27, 2013

ARC Review: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.

Best Bits: I'm an absolute sucker for the romantic image of Paris, so this book was definitely on my to-read list (plus, I love the cover!). I appreciated the historical portion of Ross' writing, because her descriptions of everything around Maude felt exciting. Even though I'm a fan of historical fiction, I think that books can occasionally be bogged down with details, and characters take a back seat. Ross did a good job of streamlining description into the natural flow of the story. The concept is an interesting one, too. I can think of a few books that focus on the same topic of inner vs outer beauty (i.e. DUFF), but for some reason I appreciated the topic in this one a bit more. I think it was because Maude's success in Paris is dependent upon her plainness, and we got to see how her perspective changed.

Nit Picks:  Alas, I didn't find the conflict to be all that fulfilling. It wasn't bad by any means, but it felt like typical YA fare (Maude can't tell Isabelle that she is more than just a new friend). Sure, it's different in setting and details, but I just didn't feel the immediacy of the issue. On the upside, I think that it was resolved well.

Belle Epoque 
By Elizabeth Ross
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Received via Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours
Rating: B

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (June 26)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

 The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barns

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want.  But, it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie. 

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there's more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars—Jennifer Lynn-Barnes’ The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

Published by Disney Hyperion
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Tour & Giveaway: My Sister's Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer

 There’s bragging, there’s trying to impress a boy, and then there’s Sixteen-year-old Zadie. Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she’s crushing on that she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake? Actually doing it! When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong (you think?). Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, intent on claiming both girls, or let Mara die … this time for good.

 Best Bits: So, how can I write this review without spoiling the magical portion of the story? Usually in YA the main magic is vampire/werewolf/angel/etc, but I can't recall a YA book that covers the topic that My Sister's Reaper does. Sure, you can probably guess some of it based on the title, but there is quite a bit more to it. It was very unique, which is rare in supernatural teen fiction. I also kind of dug the fact that the major conflict of this book was brought about by Zadie trying to impress her crush. How many of us have done stupid things to impress people? The fact that it creates a huge oopsie moment just makes it even better. Sure, she gets the attention of the boy, but it sets things into motion, and helps her to learn more about her family and herself.

Nit Picks: I think that my main nitpick is that I felt the beginning of the story is telling, not seeing. We begin the book after Mara, Zadie's sister, has been seriously injured and is in a coma. We don't see the build up of it, we don't get to feel out the relationship between the two sisters, nor do we really get an intro to the magical portion of the book. Zadie brings it up at a party, and while I really enjoyed the magical aspect of the book as a whole, it was a tad bit confusing.

My Sister's Reaper
By Dorothy Dreyer
Published by Month9 Books
275 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: B-

Book Links: Barnes And Noble
Author Links: Website - Facebook Page - Twitter - We Do Write Blog

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two children." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 21, 2013

ARC Review: Intuition by C.J. Omololu

As Cole begins to accept her new life as Akhet, someone who can remember flashes of her past lives, every new vision from her past lives helps explain who she is in this life. As her passion for Griffon grows, she learns to identify other Akhet around her, including Drew, the young self-made millionaire who reveals his startling connection to Cole-he was her husband in Elizabethan England and gave her the ankh necklace that has been returned to her after centuries in hiding. Drew's attentions are overwhelming as he insists that their connection in the past signals their future destiny together, but before she can decide who she truly loves, Cole must learn to harness her unique Akhet abilities if she is to ever understand her role in this strange new world.
Best Bits:  I was a little nervous when I read the synopsis of this one. I really enjoyed the first book, but the blurb above made the book seem like it focused solely on a love triangle. It seemed that way for the first portion of the book, but the story was about more than Griffon, Cole, and Drew. It was a great look into the way that love changes and grows. Of course, it's up to you to decide if you believe in past lives, but the book brings up an interesting question. If you could remember past lives, would you spend time hoping to reconnect with previous romantic partners, or would you try to experience new people and things? 
There's also a pretty amazing twist thrown in, just in case you were wondering whether this one was as suspenseful as the first book. It was completely unexpected, and I really can't explain it because it would give everything away. I will say, that it has really opened up the possibilities for the future of the series, and it makes Cole and Griffon's roles that much more important in the grand scheme of things. 
When I interviewed Omololu during the release of the first book, Transcendence, she said that she considering this series to be contemporary fiction (whereas I had labelled it fantasy/supernatural). I have to say, that she has the ability to weave together various genres that makes it hard to really put a stamp on it. I'll have to investigate where my local bookstore has it placed.  

Nit Picks: I do think that the love triangle wasn't completely necessary to the story. It was done well, but I feel like we get love triangles in most (99.9%) of YA novels these days. I understand the role that it played in the book, and the development of Griffon and Cole as a couple, but it just felt like the other plot developments could have kept my attention without that added relationship drama.
Intuition  By C.J. Omololu Published by Bloomsbury USA 336 Pages Received for Review Rating: B
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I thought I would host a giveaway for a copy of book one or two in this series. It's open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (June 18)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"I don't think you're an adventure," he muttered.
-Throne of Glass, Page 148, by Sarah J Maas

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (June 12)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Marie Antionette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

Published by Scholastic
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

ARC Review: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide. 

Best Bits: I've often found that when books are pitched as _____ meets _____, the result never quite meets my expectations. Spies and Prejudice was described as Pride and Prejudice meets Veronica Mars, two things that I absolutely fangirl for. I was really pleased with the result, it reminded me of the best parts of both things, while maintaining a uniqueness. Berry has sass; I think that Elizabeth Bennet would approve of her. She's a great character because she's flawed, and over the course of the novel grows to accept that her past has directly impacted her understanding of herself. The mystery of what happened to her mother was also gripping. Man, I did not see the end coming (which is sad, because I was an avid Veronica Mars watcher...although, I never guessed then, either). The supporting characters are awesome, too. Berry's friends are supportive of her lifestyle, and have stuck with her through it all. The book was paced well, too. It's a quick and satisfying read! 

Nit Picks: I believe that if there had been a couple more scenes between Berry and Tanner that the transition between initial dislike and attraction would have gone a bit more smoothly. Basically, I would have liked them to be thrown together to have some deep conversations. This isn't a major nit pick though, because I was still pleased with the romance, but I think it would have helped me learn more about both characters (although I can see why that may not have fit with the plot and pace of the novel). 

Spies and Prejudice
By Talia Vance
Pubished by EgmontUSA
304 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: B

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (June 9)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.

For Review: 

This one was a surprise in my mailbox!

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night.

Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night. While exploring the emotional depth of loss and transition to adulthood, Sanchez’s sharp humor and clever observations bring forth a richly developed voice.

Published by Running Press

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass 2) by Sarah J Maas

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Published by Bloomsbury
Release Date: August 27, 2013 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (June 5)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Awaken (Abandon 3) by Meg Cabot

Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.

But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die. 

Published by Point
Release Date: July 2, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (June 3)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"I walk around the minibar and sit down on the floor, even though there's a spot net to Tanner on the couch. 'You don't seriously think a girl like that exists?' I ask." 
-Spies and Prejudice, Page 46, by Talia Vance

(This is the updated six accomplished ladies scene)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review: The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live? (From Goodreads)

Best Bits: So what's really interesting about this one is the way that magic is woven into the book and creates a social commentary on gender equality. I don't think that this blurb does the book justice. Yes, there are two princesses, but their rivalry isn't really the main focus of the books. They are both in the same situation, trying to survive in a court ruled by a power-crazed king (Ailsbet's father). There are two types of magic in this book, taweyr (magic typically found in men) and neweyr (typically in women). The role that magic plays is similar to gender roles, women give life and are connected to nature and female elements via their magic, whereas taweyr can be used to enhance strength and give advantage in battle. Things get really interesting when ekhono (those born with magic opposite to their gender) come into play. Ailsbet's father believes they want to destroy his kingdom, so he hunts them and has them killed. Marissa's father is not as biased, and allows them to stay on their island. Honestly, I think that this could apply to any minority group. What is not understood is often feared, at the loss of society as a whole. The thing is, Harrison did a great job pulling that off. I loved pulling out little scenes, sentences, and plot points that I could apply to the world that we live in. 

Nit Picks: So, part of my nitpick is that I think the blurb is a little misleading. The two girls are never really considering whether they can let the other live. Of course, they aren't best friends either. It makes it sound like they're mortal enemies, however, and that isn't what happens. My other nitpick is that the book didn't feel like it had an end. Granted, it is the first book in a series. Still, I expect to have some sort of resolution at the end of a book. In a series, that means that some portion of the plot must be tied up, while allowing me a glimpse of what I can expect in the next book. I didn't really get that in The Rose Throne, and so I finished it feeling unsatisfied.

The Rose Throne
By Mette Ivie Harrison
Published by EgmontUSA
400 Pages
Received for Review
Rating: C

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (June 2)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.


Transparant by Natalie Whipple

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Published by HarperTeen
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl's summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they've hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she's assigned to serve "The Queen"-Fairyland's boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

Published by Balzer & Bray

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. 

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

Published by Ballantine Books

Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer..

Published by Signet

(Seriously, it has magic, a cat, and baked goods on the could I say no?)

What did you get this week? 

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